|Posted on April 8, 2013 at 11:40 AM|
Iron Front is a trading card wargame for two players. It's the result of a challenge to create a trading card game with the smallest deck size possible.
What You Need
To play Iron Front, you need the following:
- Two players, each with an Iron Front deck. This deck contains 10 unit cards, 2 stratagem cards and 1 commander card, for a total of 13 cards.
- One terrain deck from the selection of standard terrain decks, consisting of 64 large square terrain cards.
- Two six-sided dice.
Elements of Play
Commander: Your commander card is the keystone of your deck. Every commander has a special ability that can turn the tide of war in your favor, as well an affiliation with a certain faction. Only cards of your commander's faction can be put in your deck. Commanders are also unique characters with likes, dislikes, portraits and personality profiles; these fun details are written on the back of the card.
Units: Your unit cards represent the military forces that make up your army. Apart from their name and faction, all units have a unit type ranging from infantry to mechanized to air. Unit type affects what terrain a unit can move onto, as well as what weapons can affect it. A unit has a base defense value, representing how hard it is to score a damaging hit on the unit; a high defense value might indicate thick armor plating, or great agility allowing the unit to dodge easily. Most units also have various weapons. A weapon description consists of the following:
- Name of the weapon.
- Power of the weapon. The higher the power, the more likely the weapon is to strike true.
- Weight class of the weapon. Heavy weapons are more cumbersome than light weapons.
- Damage type of the weapon, such as ballistic or explosive. This normally has no rules significance, but some special effects only affect weapons with certain damage types.
- Minimum and maximum range of the weapon, if any. A weapon with no range is a close weapon, while one with a range is a distance weapon.
- What unit types the weapon affects.
- Any special abilities of the weapon.
Some units also have special abilities that are listed apart from their weapon loadout.
Stratagems: Your stratagem cards represent tactical maneuvers that are difficult for your opponent to anticipate. These one-shot abilities temporarily change the rules of war, either by modifying what actions are and aren't illegal for players to perform, or by modifying the statistics of the units in play. Once a stratagem has been used and revealed, it can't be used for the remainder of the game.
Terrain: The terrain deck is similar to a map in an RTS. Terrain cards represent the battlefield on which the battle is being fought. Each terrain card is associated with a certain terrain defense bonus, which it provides to units encamped on it (but air units do not benefit from terrain defense bonuses). Some terrain is also impassable to certain types of units. Each terrain card specifies the unit types that are allowed to move onto it.
Setting Up the Game
- At the beginning of the game, the terrain deck is dealt face down in an 8x8 grid called the map grid.
- You sit at one side of the map grid and your opponent sits at the opposite side.
- You each turn the two rows of terrain cards closest to you face up. The row directly closest to you is called your deployment zone.
- Decide with your opponent who goes first by flipping a coin, throwing rock-paper-scissors, or any other method you feel like using.
- Once you've decided, each player reveals his or her commander card, and places his or her stratagem cards face down next to it.
- The player going first places one of his or her unit cards anywhere it can legally go in the deployment zone. Each terrain card describes what types of units can move onto it.
- Then the player going second places one of his or her units in the same way.
- Repeat in alternating order until both players have placed eight units. If one player can't legally place any more units within his or her deployment zone, that player places units in barracks rather than on the map grid – those units are set aside, and then put into play later.
- The remaining units are set aside and put in reserve. Barring special circumstances, they do not come into play during the game.
Playing the Game
The player going first takes the first turn. On your turn, each of your units can make one move and one attack. You can also play one stratagem.
Moving: To move a unit, just shift it one space in any of the eight cardinal directions. If the unit is now adjacent to any face-down terrain cards, turn all of those cards face-up.
Some terrain is impassable for certain units – for example, mechanized units cannot move onto mountains except in special cases. The terrain card describes what types of units can move onto it.
Attacking: To attack, you follow these steps:
- First, choose one of your unit's weapons to make the attack with. Some units have no weapons – for obvious reasons, these units can't attack.
- Next, choose a target in range of the chosen weapon. Most weapons are close weapons, meaning they can target any unit one square away in any of the eight cardinal directions. However, some weapons are distance weapons, with a minimum and maximum range listed in their description. These weapons can fire along any of the eight cardinal directions, targeting any unit within the range provided.
Many weapons can only affect certain types of units (the types are specified in the weapon's description). As tempting as it might seem, you can't attack one of your own units.
- Once you've selected your target, make an attack roll: you roll the two six-sided dice and add the power of the weapon used to obtain the final result.
- Next, compare the attack roll to the defense value of the targeted unit. This is equal to the base defense value given on the unit card, plus terrain defense bonuses, plus any other modifiers from special effects. Remember that air units do not benefit from terrain defense bonuses.
- If the attack roll is greater than the defense value, the attack strikes true. The targeted unit is destroyed by the attack and removed from play. Otherwise, the attack fails to destroy the unit.
- A unit can move in the same turn that it attacks with a light weapon. However, attacking with a heavy weapon takes up all of a unit's actions for that turn
Flanking Attack: A flanking attack is a special kind of maneuver useful against heavily entrenched troops. When two of your units are adjacent to a single enemy unit and on directly opposite sides of it, and they are both capable of attacking that unit with a close attack, you may forfeit both their attacks to destroy that unit outright without making an attack roll.
Using Stratagems: To play a stratagem, you turn it face up and reveal it to your opponent before following the instructions of the stratagem card. Once a stratagem is face up, it can no longer be used.
Ending Your Turn: When you have nothing left to do, you may end your turn. Firstly, if at least one square of your deployment zone contains no units, and you have at least one unit in your barracks that could move onto that square, you must move that unit there. Repeat this until you can no longer move units from your barracks to your deployment zone. Then play passes to your opponent.
Ending the Game
There are two victory conditions in Iron Front: victory by annihilation and victory by capture.
Victory by Annihilation: When you destroy all enemy units, you achieve victory by annihilation. You have crushed your opponent's forces and scattered them before you, allowing you to claim his land without resistance.
Victory by Capture: When you begin your turn with two units in your opponent's deployment zone, at least one of which is infantry, you achieve victory by capture. You have stormed your opponent's command center and taken his general hostage.
Iron Front assumes that both players are sporting enough not to drag out a game, but stalemates do happen. Hence, an optional rule for timed games is provided below:
Sudden Death Rule: Games have a time limit of 30 minutes. Once the time limit is reached, only five more rounds (five turns for each player) can be played. When the five rounds are up, the player with more units left wins. If both players have the same number of units, total up the number of spaces each remaining unit has traveled from its owner's deployment zone; the player whose units have gained more ground wins. If a tie still remains, then the battle turns into a long and bloody stalemate that lasts for years, becoming a drain on the economies of both players' factions and ultimately causing them to collapse. Everybody loses and the game is a draw.
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